Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal ( The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, ( and Visit the author's website:

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Thrill of Completing a Successful Voyage: Home Again, Home Again, Splashity-Splash

Above: Seawind motors up the Onancock River, completing the voyage from Long Island, NY; Terry and I celebrate in the cockpit at Seawind's new home.

Time to celebrate. The voyage finished, the job done, the boat tied up in her permanent slip on the Onancock River. Glory be.

Parts of the adventure were not all that pleasant. Like the two days we spent locked in the small confines of the boat in the Bronx while the boat leaked, the bracket for the fuel filter fell off, and it rained, rained, rained, rained. Or the time we sailed south along the NJ coast in thick fog and nearly got run down by a ship and then, later that same day, when we came into Atlantic City, still in the fog, and the tidal rip set up big standing waves at the harbor entrance. While we were corkscrewing down the fronts of these waves, the boat barely under control, we were suddenly face to face with a huge trawler, his outriggers spread, steaming directly at us out of the fog. Late at night, you wake up with that vision in your mind and all the possibilities of what could have happened but didn't burning in your mind.

But the universe made up for it's poor treatment of these two sailors during the last four days of the trip. The Chesapeake Bay was benign and sweet natured, the sun hot and good, the boat functioned perfectly, and we sampled the charms of Bay gunk holing (gunk holing is a yachtie term for anchoring in quiet, out-of-the-way places). It couldn't have been much more pleasant or satisfying. It's why I love sailboats--they are, most properly, platforms for adventure.

So now what? Well, I'll be going down to the boat every day, count on that. But the yard needs to be mowed and the novel needs to be finished and books need to be read. I'll settle back into my routine just fine, but now we've got that wonderful boat and can sail the Chesapeake anytime. Things are falling into place.

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